The Violin Teacher. Florence, c. 1880
A rare and exquisitely worked antique pietra dura plaque of The Violin Teacher, made in Florence, Italy in c. 1880.
In typical Italian Macchiaioli style, we have a nostalgic image of an old violin teacher seated in his salon, playing the violin to himself for his own pleasure and enjoyment. Dressed in a green agate jacket, a lapis cushion for his chin, amethyst mountains in the landscape behind him – every element marks this plaque out as unusually fine and delicate.
There are so many superb details in this plaque that at first it is hard to take them all in: the jade and red jasper upholstery of his chair; the bloodstone fleur-de-lis pattern of the wallpaper; his beautiful lustrous waistcoat. Perhaps most striking is the image in the picture behind him. The combination of stones and textures used to describe the verdant foliage, together with a layer of clear glass in the clear sky to give it a sense of space and distance, are quite remarkable.
Likewise, the combination of stones in his face and hands have a great level of delicacy in describing the texture of his skin. The plaque is also inscribed “Prof re di Violino” on a sheet of paper in the bottom right hand corner. The frame is a new addition, but of high quality, and complements the plaque beautifully.
While unsigned, the quality of the work and the choice of some unusual stones mark this out as a first-class antique pietra dura plaque.